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Afield and Afloat

NEBRASKAland Magazine staff will share their experiences in Nebraska’s great outdoors, reveal what goes into producing the magazine, and toss in the occasional photo tip, ideas on where to go, and what to do outside.

Panhandle Passages: Taking Root


Every little bit helps, and every little bit has a way of turning into a big bit. Such is the case with the Boy Scouts’ annual tree planting event at Fort Robinson State Park, which I enjoyed photographing Saturday. The process of getting hundreds of scouts and volunteers into the field to plant ponderosa pine seedlings in the yearly reforestation effort has been honed to near perfection and is a sight to see. It was a bittersweet day, though, for ... Read More »

Great Plains Connections: Much to do in southwest Nebraska


If you live in southwest Nebraska there is no way that you should ever say you are bored. Our glorious state has never-ending outdoor experiences that everyone can take part in. There is so much to do in southwest Nebraska like viewing the vast number of birds migrating through our state at this very moment. Get out and enjoy hiking, biking, tours, chickens on the leks, the return of the cranes and of course fishing on open water and who ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: Soldier Creek Runs Through It

The middle fork of Soldier Creek flows over rocks.

Some of western Nebraska’s most enjoyable fishing can be found at the ponds on the 22,000 acres of Fort Robinson State Park. Count me among the anglers who have long enjoyed dropping a line at the Carter P. Johnson Lake, Ice House Ponds and Grabel Ponds. Whether from the bank, through the ice, or atop kayaks and jon boats, the ponds serve as a great fishing destination. The scenery is great and the whopper largemouth bass and other species are ... Read More »

Burning Cedar Tree Piles at Grove Lake WMA


In an effort to reclaim native grassland ridges and openings, biologists at Grove Lake Wildlife Management Area near Royal have been cutting down eastern red cedar trees that have overrun many parts of the WMA. Although native to Nebraska, cedar trees are often invasive. They thrive and spread quickly, and if left unchecked, cedars can take over a piece of ground in just a few years, choking out more desirable vegetation and wildlife species that depend on open grassland. Like ... Read More »

Snow Goose Recipe From New York

As a writer, getting letters from readers can be one of the most rewarding things that can happen. It lets me know that my work is interesting and engaging to at least one person out there, and it has me on cloud nine for the rest of the day. This morning, I received a snow goose recipe all the way from New York! It was in response to a snow goose recipe I offered in our March 2014 NEBRASKAland Magazine. ... Read More »

Learn how to hunt turkey at Ponca State Park!

245_44953_Bill Lewis Turkey-300x450

As spring turkey season ebbs closer, the Commission will be offering turkey hunting workshops throughout the state. Whether you’re a complete beginner or someone with a little more experience looking to learn something new, our turkey hunting workshops are where you need to be! In the northeast region, Bill Lewis will be your instructor on Saturday, March 15 in the Sandbar Room at Ponca State Park from 10am-12pm. Bill is an avid turkey hunter and has been enjoying archery for ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: Chopper Time


From the rocky buttes of the Wildcat Hills near Gering to the evergreen-studded canyons near Bassett, a helicopter crew put in time for Nebraska’s big game conservation efforts during the past week and month. I’ve been fortunate to be up close and personal with some of their air time. Last week, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission used the help of a contracted helicopter crew of California-based Native Range Capture Services to catch bighorn sheep and elk and provide the ... Read More »

From the West: A Walk on the Wild Side – Photography in a Zoo

great horned owl and cholla

  Visiting the Sonora Desert Museum south of Tucson last week I was surprised at the variety of photo opportunities, especially a morning presentation by a group from Raptor Free Flight. Beautiful birds in flight and with careful planning and a few camera and lens tweaks, the presentation really worked for bird flight photography and the spectators enjoyed a great time as well.   Raptor Free Flight team member Wally Hestermann shown here with a great performing red-tailed hawk. Released from a ... Read More »

Great Plains Connections: Bald Eagles are Winter Wonders

eagle eating

Bald eagles are one of my favorite birds to view during the winter months – when ice covers the rivers and reservoirs eagles will search out any open areas of water to fish or they find places where an easy meal is available. Living near reservoirs that have inlets or spillways is an advantage for eagle viewers as those areas will attract these gorgeous big birds of prey. Finding areas to fish from is a must in the winter for ... Read More »

From the West: Great Lenses, Great Cameras


  When I mention “great lenses, great cameras” I’m talking about the tremendous and continuing progress in camera and lens design and even the lower prices that make owning the new technologies possible. My son in Omaha is a devoted photographer and my source for the latest information, especially on the so-called “four thirds” and “micro four thirds” sensor size cameras and the trainloads of new lenses that will fit on most of the cameras. He even loaned a lens, ... Read More »